Sweden faces ongoing misinformation campaigns from Russia and Iran, warns minister
In response, Sweden is intensifying defensive measures, collaborating with the Agency for Psychological Defense to identify and counter foreign malign influence activities.
Sweden’s Minister of Civil Defense, Carl-Oskar Bohlin, has cautioned that the country continues to be targeted by sophisticated information and influence campaigns by Russia and Iran. These campaigns have evolved from previous themes to focus on spreading misinformation about Quran burnings.
This is the second time Swedish officials have pointed out these disinformation campaigns by ‘Russian-backed actors’, with the first accusation made in July. While the initial report highlighted Russia’s involvement, the current report also underscores connections to Iran. The campaigns have escalated, often involving individuals loosely tied to Sweden and resulting in distorted narratives in the global information landscape.
The Swedish government is intensifying its efforts to counter these state-backed threats, including collaboration with the Agency for Psychological Defense to identify, analyze, and mitigate foreign misinformation efforts. While concerns are growing over potential extremist threats as the campaigns escalate, Sweden emphasizes the importance of unity in countering these influence operations.
Why does it matter?
The dissemination of misinformation and the manipulation of public sentiment appear to constitute a deliberate effort by foreign actors to undermine the internal stability of the country, control narratives, and potentially influence political decisions. Additionally, the alleged involvement of Russia and Iran in orchestrating these campaigns might reflect larger geopolitical tensions.